Racist Toilet Plungers

So this evening as part of our out and about-ness, we had to stop at Giant Eagle for diapers, during which time I loudly confirmed to an unsuspecting black man that racism is still alive and well in the world.
I don’t often realize I have what’s considered by some an extensive vocabulary. To me, it’s normal; the words I speak are the words I read and the words in which I think. However, it has not been uncommon for me to hear others mention my frequent use of “big words.” Big words are fine, but friends, I’m here to tell you, keep your big words far away from your cleverness. They don’t mix; like oxygen tanks and cigarettes in a hospital, someone’s bound to need skin grafts when the sprinklers shut off.
As we’re walking through the diaper aisle, Casey and I are discussing something inane like toilet plungers when he says something opposite of something he said before. Naturally, I take up the argument and point out his incongruity – because that’s what I do – and instead of just calling him dumb for what he was saying, I had to be clever. I wanted to call him a name that meant he was taking back something he previously said, replacing with a new story. I could have called him an “Indian-giver” since I remember kids saying that in 5th grade or whatever, but as I am not likely to meet any Native Americans around here, I had to choose something more racially relevant.
(I know you’re wondering what race has to do with toilet plungers, and I have to say, I don’t know. I was appalled at the discovery myself.) As we turned around the end of the aisle, I smuggly and full of pomp practically shouted “Re-nigger!” at Casey at precisely the moment the aforementioned unsuspecting black man passed us. Because I was so enthralled with my rendition of the word “renege” (which sounds like “renig” and means to take back) I came to tears moments later when I smacked into the obvious.
Of course there was no explaining it, not even to myself. How did it escape the filter of my own ears before it echoed off the steel beams and linoleum? I couldn’t stop thinking about that man walking to his car, returning home with his dog food or whatever, and wishing he’d just waited until the morning to go out. If I knew who he was, I would find him and apologize for what sounded like an ignorant dirty insult.
Because I wanted to be clever with my big words. Well, from now on clever and big words play on different sides of the playground. I know I was careless with my word choice, but I have to think, what really caused this problem in the first place?
I blame my broken toilet and the smart-ass plunger that would rather flip itself into a belligerent ladle than do its job, without which Casey and I would have no cause for discussing said plunger or arguing about what he said in the first place.
So there you have it: Racist Toilet Plungers.

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